Posted by Adam Wills
“Drawn Together’—the basic cable series that invited us to “find out what happens when cartoon characters stop being polite … and start making out in hot tubs”—is scheduled to return in 2010 with a direct-to-DVD release, “Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!”
For three seasons, Dave Jeser and Matt Silverstein’s mash-up of reality TV parody and knock-off cartoon characters (Toot Braunstein = Betty Boop) pushed the boundaries of good taste with explicit dialogue, gratuitous violence, kinky sex and black humor that made light of such issues as abortion, spousal abuse and anti-Semitism. (Such good Jewish boys….)
Comedy Central cancelled the show in November 2007, and the creators say the last episode, an “American Idol” parody, isn’t how they envisioned the end of the series.
“That’s not how we wanted to go out,” Silverstein said at Comic-Con.
Going the “Futurama” series-to-film route, Jeser and Silverstein say the “Drawn Together” movie is currently in production, scheduled for a March 2010 release.
“Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!” marks the return of The Jew Producer, who cancels the show without telling the housemates. He continues the reality TV-style competitions for his own amusement until Foxxy Love notices all the housemates can suddenly cuss without being censored. The characters (including Adam Carolla as Spanky Ham) venture to lands like Bedrock, a Fairy Tale Village and the fantastical Make-a-Point Land, hoping to get the series renewed, all the while outrunning enemies hell-bent on keeping them off the air.
In scenes aired at Comic-Con, the film skewers shows like “The Flintstones” and “South Park,” with gross-out humor that managed to make me wince a few times (and that’s saying something!). The executive producers hope strong DVD sales will get the series renewed, so they begged the Comic-Con audience to not share it online .. shortly before a live table read of a not-yet-produced 3D sex scene from the film that was to graphic to recount on this blog.
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July 28, 2009 | 2:27 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
William “The Shat” Shatner read Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s rambling resignation speech as beat poetry on “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” last night, accompanied by a bass and bongo drum. Set phasers on cool…
July 27, 2009 | 6:47 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
After last week’s Emmy nod for nerd-tastic “Big Bang Theory”—a sitcom that revolves around two Caltech physics professors who share an apartment, their equally geeky friends and a wannabe actress who lives next door—GeekHeeb caught up with series creator Chuck Lorre (“Two and a Half Men”) and actor Simon Helberg at Comic-Con to discuss the show’s Jewish characters: Howard Wolowitz, a Caltech engineer/ romantic loser who still lives at home with his never-seen, overbearing Jewish mother, known only as Ms. Wolowitz.
Lorre says that Wolowitz is based on his own Jewish background as well as that of Helberg.
“Things are loud in a Jewish household. Conversations are up here,” Lorre said, lifting his hand above his head, “they’re pitched pretty high. That’s just the way we talk. Other people go, ‘Why are you yelling?’ I’m not yelling; I’m making a point! That was the fun of creating that off-camera mother. That’s how communication happens in some households, and it’s normal in that house.”
Lorre says he didn’t think anything of the communication style in his home growing up until he had dinner for the first time with a non-Jewish family.
“They said, ‘Could you please pass the butter?’ I said, ‘Why are you whispering?’”
Helberg, who plays Wolowitz, says that his character and the mother are reflective of trends in Jewish society today—how one generation’s experiences and values don’t always mesh with the other.
“He’s really into science. You don’t how he feels about religion. He’s more cutting-edge, questioning things and breaking away. His mother is more of the old school,” Helberg said.
As far as the Jewish elements he feels he brings to the role: “Well, my nose,” joked Helberg, who had his bar mitzvah at University Synagogue in Westwood, where he still attends High Holy Days services.
While Wolowitz’s mother (played by Carol Ann Susi) has more than made her presence known (even if we don’t see her), we have yet to hear from Mr. Wolowitz.
That could change this year. Lorre says Ringo Starr is being considered for the part of the father.
And when last we left the cast of “Big Bang Theory” at the end of season two, Wolowitz, Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and Raj (Kunal Nayyar) had followed Sheldon (Emmy-nominee Jim Parsons) to the North Magnetic Pole to help during a three-month mission to prove the validity of string theory. When the series picks up again on Sept. 21, Lorre said the four will freak when they realize they’ve missed out on Comic-Con and the recent “Star Trek” film.
As far as the possibility of Wolowitz heading off to the high-tech Jewish state for a limelight episode in the near future, Lorre said he prefers keeping the characters together.
“It’s a good idea, but we’re really more involved right now with the intimate relationships – romantic, friendship and family,” he said. “We’re keeping it really small.”
July 22, 2009 | 6:36 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Legendary Pictures and “WoW” publisher Blizzard Entertainment (whose president and co-founder, Michael Morhaime, has been involved in the O.C. Jewish community) is producing the film, with Warner Bros. set to co-finance and distribute.
The team boasts an impressive pedigree: In addition to the director of “Spider-Man,” the partners have added “The Dark Knight” producer Charles Roven to the creative mix.
The plan is for Raimi to supervise development of “Warcraft” and shoot the picture after he completes work on “Spider-Man 4,” which gets under way early next year for Columbia Pictures.
The movie will be financed under the Legendary Pictures’ co-production and co-financing deal with WB, in a manner similar to the Todd Phillips-directed “The Hangover” plus the Roven-produced “Batman Begins” and “Dark Knight.”
The “Warcraft” universe features an epic conflict between the Horde and the Alliance. The game has developed a global following since its launch in 1994 and shows no signs of slowing. Its most recent expansion, “Wrath of the Lich King,” sold more than 2.8 million copies in the first day of release and more than 4 million its first month.
And since this is probably on the minds of “WoW” fans: No word yet on a Leeroy Jenkins cameo.
July 22, 2009 | 3:21 am
Posted by Adam Wills
GeekHeeb is in San Diego this week for the sold-out Comic-Con 2009. While there’s no panel on Jews in comics this year (for that you can check out the Skirball’s exhibition “Zap! Pow! Bam! The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938-1950”), there will be no shortage of MOT at the San Diego Convention Center this weekend. The following are programs of note that feature Jewish participants – from panels with comic book legends Jerry Robinson and Stan Lee to Q-and-As with producers like Jon Landau (“Avatar) and Damon Lindelof (“Lost”).
(If you find a panel or person I’ve missed, feel free to add it in the comments section.)
THURSDAY, JULY 23
12:45-1:45 Disney: Stan Lee’s Time Jumper— Don’t miss Stan Lee and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as they present a special sneak peek of their new digital motion comic series Time Jumper. Comic book legend Stan Lee is joined by Natasha Henstridge (one of the character voices in Time Jumper), Omar Ponce (writer), and Anthony Diecidue (artist) for a Q&A session. Room 6BCF
1:30-2:30 Spotlight on Jerry Robinson — One of the true legends of comics, Comic-Con special guest Jerry Robinson is a writer, artist, comics historian, museum show curator, and creator rights activist. Noted comics writer and editor Mark Waid (BOOM! Studios editor-in-chief) interviews Jerry about his life in comics, from his early days on Batman to his founding of the Bill Finger Excellence in Comic Writing Award. Room 4
3:00-4:00 Robot Chicken with Titan Maximum— Seth Green (co-creator, Robot Chicken and Titan Maximum), Matthew Senreich (co-creator, Robot Chicken and Titan Maximum), Tom Root (head writer, Robot Chicken/co-creator, Titan Maximum) and Doug Goldstein (head writer, Robot Chicken) with Chris McKay, Breckin Meyer, Kevin Shinick, Mike Fasolo and Dan Milano discuss the popular Adult Swim series Robot Chicken. They will also discuss the upcoming new stop-motion animated series Titan Maximum, slated to premiere on Adult Swim this fall. Join this meet-up of show creators, writers and voice actors for a Q&A, moderated by Keith Crofford, vice president of Adult Swim production. Room 6A
3:00-4:15 20th Century Fox and James Cameron present Avatar— In this first public screening of footage in 3D from his much-anticipated action/adventure/fantasy, James Cameron, producer Jon Landau, and cast members take you to a spectacular new world beyond imagination. Conceived 14 years ago and over four years in the making, Avatar breaks new ground in delivering a fully immersive, emotional story and reinvents the movie-going experience. Hall H
3:30-5:00 Golden and Silver Age of Comics— A Comic-Con tradition: the yearly gathering and discussion of the clan of some of the finest comic book creators ever to put pen or typewriter to paper! This year’s panel—moderated by Mark Evanier —includes Comic-Con special guests Murphy Anderson (Hawkman), Gene Colan (Tomb of Dracula), Ramona Fradon (Aquaman), Russ Heath (The Haunted Tank), Jack Katz (The First Kingdom), Jerry Robinson (Batman), and Leonard Starr (Mary Perkins On Stage). Both Katz and Starr, known best for their underground comix and comic strip work, respectively, also worked in comics in the Golden and Silver Ages. The stories these people can tell are the stuff of legend…be a part of the yearly magic of this panel. Room 8
3:30-4:30 Marvel: Breaking into the House of Ideas— Are you a writer or artist? Ever dream of working for Marvel? Do you find yourself thinking “I could do that…if I knew how!” Well, here’s your chance! Join C. B. Cebulski, Marvel’s talent liaison, and panelists writer Jeph Loeb (Ultimatum), Marvel editor Charlie Beckerman, artist Mike Choi (X-Force), colorist Christina Strain (Runaways), and more to find out the answers on how to get your foot in the door at every level in the creative process and how to make your job Marvel! Room 6DE
5:45-6:30 Kick-Ass— World premiere footage from Kick-Ass, based on Mark Millar’s bestselling comic series, will be presented by director Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Layercake). Joining him on the panel will Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), Clark Duke (Clark and Michael), and comic co-creators Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. plus a surprise guest. You don’t want to miss the chance to be the first to experience this gritty, brash, and funny actioner. Hall H
7:00-8:00 Comedy Central’s Drawn Together Movie Roundtable— Join co-creators Matt Silverstein and Dave Jeser and stars Foxxy Love, Cree Summer (Transformers: Animated) and Wooldoor Sockbat/The Jew Producer, James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), as they discuss The Drawn Together Movie and host a roundtable discussion on the politics of religion in the workplace and where to get a decent sandwich. Room 6BCF
FRIDAY, JULY 24
10:15-11:15 Farscape 10th Anniversary Panel— Brian Henson (executive producer/ director), Rockne O’Bannon (creator/writer), Ben Browder (John Crichton) and Claudia Black (Aeryn Sun) reunite to celebrate the beginning of this landmark series, share exciting news, and answer questions Room 6BCF
11:00-12:00 Spotlight on Gene Colan — He’s the dean of comic book artists, the master of shadows and a hallmark of the Marvel Age of Comics! Comic-Con special guest Gene Colan is back at the big show, talking with Mark Evanier and co-host Marv Wolfman about his legendary career in comics. Room 8
1:00-2:00 The Big Bang Theory Screening and Q&A— Bazinga! Your favorite scientists and girl-next-door are back as The Big Bang Theory returns to Comic-Con with a special screening and Q&A with the show’s creators and stars. Come chat with executive producers Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men) and Bill Prady (Dharma & Greg), as well as series stars Johnny Galecki (Roseanne), Jim Parsons (Garden State), Kaley Cuoco (Charmed), Simon Helberg (Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog), and Kunal Nayyar (NCIS). From Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television, The Big Bang Theory airs Mondays at 9:30 PM ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Second Season is released on DVD September 15. Ballroom 20
1:30-3:00 Legends of The Batman— Seventy years ago Bob Kane and Bill Finger introduced the second great superhero in comics: Batman. On the anniversary of this momentous occasion Mark Evanier talks to legendary Batman artists—and Comic-Con special guests—Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff, Jerry Robinson, and Lew Sayre Schwartz about their time with the Caped Crusader. Room 8
2:15-3:00 24— The Fox series 24 is coming off its most critically acclaimed season in years. Stars Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub and new cast members Anil Kapoor and Katee Sackhoff join showrunnner Howard Gordon and the producers of the Emmy-winning series for a special sneak peek at the heart-stopping premiere episode of Season 8 Ballroom 20
2:30-3:30 Building Tomorrow’s Technology— How does a present where the availability of natural resources is already an issue affect the technology one imagines for the future? Moderator Steve Saffel (editor and publishing consultant) maps a path with panelists Greg Bear (City at the End of Time), David Williams (Burning Skies), Dani & Eytan Kollin (The Unincorporated Man), and Kirsten Imani Kasai (Ice Song). Room 3
3:00-4:30 Scribe Awards/Media Tie-in Writers Panel— Attend the third annual presentation of the International Association of Media-Tie-in Writers (IAMTW) “Scribe” awards, honoring such notable franchises as CSI, Criminal Minds, The X-Files, Star Trek, Stargate, Star Wars, and Dr. Who. The presentation will be followed by a panel of nominees, including James Rollins (Indiana Jones), Matt Forbeck (Mutant Chronicles), Bob Greenberger (Hellboy), Keith R. A. DeCandido (Farscape), Stacia Deutsch (Dark Knight), Nathan Long (Warhammer), and Tod Goldberg (Burn Notice). Moderated by Lee Goldberg (Monk) and Max Allan Collins (G.I. Joe). Room 4
9:00-11:30 Angel of Death Premiere Screening and Q&A Session— Comic book superstar Ed Brubaker (Captain America), actress and stuntwoman Zoë Bell (Death Proof), actors Doug Jones (Quarantine), and Ted Raimi (Spider-Man 3), director Paul Etheredge (Buried Alive), and producer John Norris appear for a panel and Q&A session, followed by an exclusive screening of the thrilling uncut feature-length version of the film marking the DVD release of the groundbreaking digital online series! Room 6A
SATURDAY, JULY 25
10:00-11:00 Chuck Screening and Q&A— Chuck returns to Comic-Con! executive producers and co-creators Josh Schwartz (Gossip Girl) and Chris Fedak are joined by series stars Zachary Levi (upcoming Alvin and the Chipmunks ), Yvonne Strahovski (upcoming I Love You Too), Joshua Gomez (Without a Trace), Ryan McPartlin (Super Capers), Mark Christopher Lawrence ( The Pursuit of Happyness ), Vik Sahay ( This Is Wonderland ) , Scott Krinsky ( The O.C. ), Sarah Lancaster ( Everwood), and Adam Baldwin (Serenity) for a Q&A to discuss season three and screen an exclusive retrospective highlight reel. Plus, don’t miss a special surprise from some of your favorite characters! Produced by College Hill Pictures, Wonderland Sound and Vision in association with Warner Bros. Television, Chuck airs Mondays at 8:00 PM ET/PT on NBC. Ballroom 20
10:30-12:00 Comics Arts Conference Session #9: Is the Joker a Psychopath: You Decide!— Psychology professors Robin Rosenberg (The Psychology of Superheroes) and Travis Langley (Henderson State University) discuss the technical definition of a psychopath and review the criteria for antisocial personality disorder — does the Joker fit the clinical definition? Is he more than just crazy? They are joined by Joker experts Jerry Robinson (The Superhero: The Golden Age of Comic Books, 1938—1950), famed “Joker-fish” scribe Steve Englehart (The Point Man), and film producer Michael Uslan (The Dark Knight). Room 30AB
11:00-12:00 Lost: The Final Season Begins, with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse— In appreciation of all the fan support through five seasons of Lost, co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse will pay homage to all the fans at their final Comic-Con appearance for Lost. Questions will be answered. Fun will be had. And you won’t want to miss the surprises in store for the audience! Hall H
11:30-12:30 Spotlight on Sheldon Moldoff — Golden and Silver Age comics great Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff is once again a Comic-Con special guest! The prolific artist (Hawkman, Batman) talks with comic book writer/editor Mark Waid (Amazing Spider-Man, 52, editor-in-chief of BOOM! Studios) about Shelly’s long career in comics. Room 10
11:30-12:30 Activision/Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2— Marvel and Activision have a long history of bringing some of the world’s most popular and beloved comic book storylines to video games and their fans. That pedigree will continue with a number of Stan Lee’s famed Marvel characters inspired by Mark Millar’s Civil War storyline, brought to life in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. Learn first-hand the various facets that go into transforming a comic book’s storyline into a captivating video game, including voice work, writing, development, and creativity, all the while evolving with the high-definition environment of the gaming world. Join Stan Lee, game voice-over actors Armin Shimerman and Fred Tatasciore, and members from Activision’s development studio, Vicarious Visions, to gain insight and a preview of the imagination, creative process and technology used to develop some of the most advanced superhero games ever. Indigo Ballroom / Hilton Bayfront
11:45-12:45 Ben 10— It’s all about Ben 10 at this panel featuring director Alex Winter and cast members from the upcoming live-action movie Ben 10: Alien Swarm coming this fall to Cartoon Network. Also appearing are Ben 10 Alien Force producer Glenn Murakami, story editor Dwayne McDuffie, and Yuri Lowenthal (voice of Ben). Make sure not to miss an exclusive look at what’s coming next with a sneak peek at Generator Rex and the first images from the upcoming series, Sym-Bionic Titan, by creator Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory). Room 6DE
1:00-2:00 Will Eisner’s New York— Did you know that New York City played a central role in much of Will Eisner‘s writing and artwork? Learn about the life-long relationship between Will Eisner and New York City from Charles Kochman (executive editor, Abrams ComicArts), Paul Levitz (president & publisher, DC Comics), Diana Schutz (executive editor, Dark Horse Comics), Denis Kitchen (Will Eisner’s publisher, agent, and long-time friend), and Carl Gropper (Will Eisner’s nephew and manager of Will Eisner Studios). Room 8
1:00-1:45 Futurama: Life or Death?!— Be a part of sci-fi history! Join executive producers Matt Groening and David X. Cohen, and stars Billy West, Katey Sagal, John DiMaggio, and Maurice LaMarche for high-stakes thrills as a top-ranking FOX executive decides live, on stage, whether Futurama will make yet another triumphant return or whether it is gone forever! The very fate of Futurama hangs in the balance! Paramedics will be standing by in case the intense excitement causes any panelists to collapse. Raucous celebration or abject despair to follow the news. Ballroom 20
1:30-2:30 Miramax: Extract— Mike Judge, the creator of such comedy classics as Office Space, Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill is back with his latest film Extract starring Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), and Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live). Join Judge and his cast for a discussion and first look at scenes from their new film. Hall H
2:15-3:15 Warehouse 13— This summer, the unknown has an address in the new Syfy Original Series, Warehouse 13. Stars Eddie McClintock (Pete Lattimer), Joanne Kelly (Myka Bering), Saul Rubinek (Artie Nielsen), Allison Scagliotti (Claudia Donovan), Jack Kenny (executive producer/showrunner) and David Simkins (executive producer) reveal confidential information. Room 6A
2:45-3:45 Sony Pictures: Zombieland and 2012— Sony Pictures previews two exciting new movies at Comic-Con!
Zombieland —What if the Zombies won? Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) has made a habit of running from what scares him. Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) doesn’t have fears. If he did, he’d kick their ever-living ass. In a world overrun by zombies, these two are perfectly evolved survivors. But now, they’re about to stare down the most terrifying prospect of all: each other. Also starring Emma Stone and Abigal Breslin as two sisters who seem to constantly cause even more trouble for our erstwhile heroes. Appearing on stage: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and director Ruben Fleischer.
2012—Director Roland Emmerich has tried to destroy civilization before, but nothing you’ve seen will prepare you for what he has in store for the world in 2012. Never before has a date in history been so significant to so many cultures, so many religions, scientists, and governments. 2012 is an epic adventure about a global cataclysm that brings an end to the world and tells of the heroic struggle of the survivors. Roland will be onstage to reassure us it’s all make-believe…we hope.
4:00-5:00 Fringe Screening and Q&A— Fringe cast members Anna Torv (upcoming The Pacific), Josh Jackson (Shutter), and John Noble (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) appear with consulting producers Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci (Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen) and executive producers Jeff Pinkner (Lost) and J. H. Wyman (Keen Eddie) for a Q&A with fans and an exclusive video presentation. Join the discussion of this critically acclaimed thriller, which explores the ever-blurring line between science fiction and reality, where hybrid monsters tear through sewers, thieves walk through walls and portals open to worlds unknown. From Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, Fringe airs Thursdays at 9:00 PM ET/PT this fall on FOX, premiering September 17. Fringe: The Complete First Season will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Hi Def September 8. Ballroom 20
4:00-5:00 Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment: Iron Man 2— Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment present the sequel to the blockbuster film based on the legendary Marvel superhero Iron Man. Directed by Jon Favreau, Iron Man 2 stars Robert Downey Jr. Joining Downey in the cast are Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, Clark Gregg, John Slattery, Mickey Rourke, and Samuel L. Jackson. Hall H
6:00-7:00 Harvey Kurtzman/MAD— The creator of MAD and Playboy’s “Little Annie Fanny,” Harvey Kurtzman was called “one of the most important figures in postwar America” by the New York Times. Kurtzman discovered Robert Crumb and gave Gloria Steinem her first job in publishing. Terry Gilliam started at Kurtzman’s side, met an unknown John Cleese in the process, and the genesis of Monty Python took place. Art Speigelman has said that he owes his career to Kurtzman. And Kurtzman is one of Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner’s favorite artists. Harvey was an astonishingly talented and influential artist, writer, editor, and satirist without whom treasures such as Saturday Night Live, Airplane!, and The Simpsons may never have been conceived. This panel promises to be a lively discussion about the life and work of “The MAD Genius of Comics,” led by comics historian Mark Evanier and featuring Kurtzman’s daughter, Nellie Kurtzman; the author of the just released The Art of Harvey Kurtzman the MAD Genius of Comics, Denis Kitchen; Paul Levitz (president/publisher of DC Comics/MAD); William Stout (a colleague of Kurtzman who worked on “Little Annie Fanny”); and Charles Kochman (executive editor of Abrams ComicArts). Room 3
6:30-8:00 Troma Roast— Join Lloyd Kaufman (Troma Studios president/founder, director of Toxic Avenger) as he gets roasted by Tromaster of Ceremonies Adam Green (Hatchet), and help from BFFs: Stan Lee (Spider-Man, Fantastic Four), Terry Jones (Monty Python’s Flying Circus), Brian Pulido (Lady Death, Evil Ernie), Chad Gilbert (lead guitarist of New Found Glory), Richard Saperstein (John Q, Se7en), Batton Lash (Supernatural Law, Simpsons, Archie), Steven Paul (Ghost Rider), Penelope Spheeris (Decline of Western Civilization, Wayne’s World), Ron Jeremy (Toxic Avenger: Citizen Toxie, Killing Zoe), Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2), Jim Salicrup (Marvel editor for Toxic Avenger, editor-in-chief Papercutz), Mick Garris (Stephen King’s Desperation, The Stand, Sleepwalkers), John Rieber (G4 senior VP), Jean Prewitt (chairman of The Independent Film Alliance), Tim Seeley (writer/artist/creator Hack/Slash), Alan C. Carroll and Mimi Cruz (Night Flight Comics), Brick & Tiger (One Shot Presents), and more! What a way to celebrate 35 years of Reel Independence with Troma Entertainment! Indigo Ballroom / Hilton Bayfront
8:00-9:00 Showtime: Weeds— If you are addicted to Weeds, this is the panel you don’t want to miss! Find out everything you want to know with a Q&A and interview with the series creator and its stars! Featured panelists include Jenji Kohan (creator/executive producer), Hunter Parrish (Silas), Justin Kirk (Andy), and other cast members. Weeds airs on Mondays at 10:00 pm on Showtime. Indigo Ballroom / Hilton Bayfront
SUNDAY, JULY 26
11:15-12:15 American Dad— Showrunners Mike Barker and Matt Weitzman and stars Seth MacFarlane, Wendy Schaal, and Dee Bradley Baker are back to regale the fans with an insider’s look at how an episode of the hilarious Fox animated comedy is made, from table read to animatic to color. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind Comic-Con event. Ballroom 20
2:00-3:00 Muggles, Wizards, Tentpoles, and Fans in the World of Harry Potter— Back for its second year! Panel members Leslie Combemale (ArtInsights Gallery, official/exclusive HP art supplier), Henry Jenkins (USC, author of Convergence Culture), Melissa Anelli (webmaster, The Leaky Cauldron, author of Harry: A History), Gwendolyn Grace (president emeritus, HP Educational Fanon), Lev Grossman (Time magazine book reviewer, author of The Magicians), and Heidi Tandy (webmaster, Fiction Alley) duel over the latest Harry Potter issues. With the release of Half-Blood Prince, what does the future look like for Harry Potter fandom? Moderated by Potter Headmaster Eric Bowling. Room 32AB
July 6, 2009 | 11:45 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
Stop-motion animation hasn’t been this much fun since MTV’s “Celebrity Deathmatch” and “Mad TV.” I’m referring, of course, to “Robot Chicken,” Cartoon Network’s irreverent look at pop culture via action figures, which returns with new episodes on July 26.
Creator and executive producer Seth Green paid a visit Sunday to Anime Expo, dragging along writers Doug Goldstein and Tom Root, among others. After plugging the Robot Chicken on Wheels ’09 Tour (7/25 Comic-Con, 8/1 L.A.) and the DVD release of “Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II,” Green played to the otaku by discussing his new series, “Titan Maximum,” a spoof on Japanese five-in-one robot shows, like “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” and “Voltron.”
But I wanted to know why a show like “Robot Chicken,” which features such uber-Jew talent as Green, Goldstein, Matthew Senreich, yada yada, has taken pass on Jewish humor over the past two years. The last Jewish-themed bit was 2007’s “Not One More Day” (unless you want to count the very brief “Scooby-Jew” gag in the first episode of season four):
Green started off by telling me about something actress Alex Borstein (Lois on “Family Guy”) said to him after learning about “Robot Chicken”: “The moment you put a bunch of Jewish writers in a room, you’re going to get a ton of Hitler jokes.”
“And we did, “he said.
Goldstein jumped in then to tell me about one of his most recent Jewish sketches, which has yet to see the light of day and will probably end up on a future “Robot Chicken” DVD. He calls it “Anne Frankenstein.” After Anne Frank dies, he says, she’s resurrected to fight the Nazis.
It’d certainly be wrong (not original, but wrong). However, there’s no way it can compare with “Ross Hashanah, American’s No. 1 Jewish superspy.” “Get chillin’ with the tefillin!”
June 11, 2009 | 9:23 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
“Aliens” remains one of my sci-fi favorites, especially the special edition, which features Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) clutching a picture of her now-deceased, elderly daughter after waking up 57 years in the future following the events of “Alien.” The reason the scene was cut, along with several others, is that the film was already running too long, said actress Jenette Goldstein (Pvt. Vasquez in the film). The version that hit theaters in 1986 was 2 hours 17 minutes; the special edition is 2 hours 34 minutes. But in those missing 17 minutes—which includes some spiffy action moments and early scenes with the colonists on LV-426—we see Ripley grieving over a daughter she barely knew, wrestling with unrequited maternal feelings. As we talked, Goldstein agreed that the loss of that scene was a blow to the film, because we lose a dimension of Ripley’s femininity. We don’t get to see Ripley as a “mom”—one who needs her daughter—until she encounters Newt.
Thankfully the film’s feminist messages remained relatively unscathed.
The following appears as the Up Front article in the June 12 issue of The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles…
Actress Finds Feminist Fanboys in ‘Alien’ Places
by Adam Wills, Senior Editor
It was a rarely seen role reversal. The line for the men’s restroom at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica was winding down the staircase on a recent Friday night; the ladies room — no waiting.
The few women who ventured into the theater auditorium did so seemingly out of obligation to a boyfriend, husband or employer.
“There are so many men here,” actress Jenette Goldstein said, scanning the seats ahead of us. “Where are the women?”
An opportunity to see a rare 70 mm print of the 1986 sci-fi film, “Aliens,” and talk with director James Cameron proved irresistible for fanboys but not fangirls. (And this was the guy who directed “Titanic”!)
Goldstein was baffled.
“‘Aliens’ is a feminist film,” she insisted.
Goldstein, who attended the screening as an unannounced guest with this reporter, is a 49-year-old character actress best known for her work in genre films. She played John Connor’s foster mother in Cameron’s “Terminator 2” and the vampire Diamondback in Kathryn Bigelow’s “Near Dark.” Her most recent role was as a nurse opposite her “T2” co-star Robert Patrick in the Horrorfest III release, “Autopsy.”
But in “Aliens,” the petite redhead from Beverly Hills played an action heroine at a time when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was becoming a Hollywood superstar and Bruce Willis had yet to “Die Hard.” Goldstein, playing a gun-toting space Marine alongside star Sigourney Weaver (who as foster mother Ellen Ripley faces off against the alien queen in a final showdown), pressed guys to consider women as action equals.
And they are still taking notice. Men at the Aero kept looking in our direction, pointing out Goldstein to their friends; a few brave souls ventured over to respectfully shake her hand before the film started. “You were amazing as Vasquez,” one 20-something fan said, referring to Goldstein’s role in the film.
“Aliens” marked Goldstein’s first on-screen appearance. She began acting on the Beverly Hills High stage and entered local festivals with the likes of Val Kilmer, Kevin Spacey and Mare Winningham in the mid-1970s.
Goldstein was a bit of a gym rat in her early 20s, and her ability to speak Spanish and her familiarity with Latino culture helped the Jewish actress land the part of Vasquez during casting in London.
“[The producers] kept saying, ‘You’re an actress, right, not a bodybuilder?’” Goldstein said.
In her first scene, Goldstein sets the tone for Vasquez by doing pull-ups. Bill Paxton, as Pvt. Hudson, harasses her: “Hey Vasquez, have you ever been mistaken for a man?”
“No, have you?” she spits back.
As former USC gender studies professor Judith Grant notes in “Fundamental Feminism” (Routledge, 1993), “Even in the opening scenes, ‘Aliens’ plays off the gender switch of attaching a traditionally male version of power to women.”
Minorities as token characters in 1980s action films were often the first to be killed off. But Vasquez, surprisingly, hangs on until almost the bitter end. And mere moments before certain death, she reaches out to a despised commander and helps him reclaim his honor.
After the film’s release in 1986, Marines at Camp Pendleton applauded the film’s depiction of women as combat equals, flooding Goldstein’s agent with requests for posters of Vasquez.
Along with the military — and a faithful lesbian fan base — Goldstein also counts moms who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s among her loyal following, who regularly turn out to sci-fi conventions to pose for a picture with her or get an autograph.
When she isn’t acting, Goldstein’s favorite roles include mother of three and proprietor of the new East Hollywood shop, Jenette Bras (tagline: “The alphabet starts at ‘D’”).
And while she’d like to see her fans’ daughters embrace “Aliens” as a film that empowers women, Goldstein appreciates that their sons look to her action heroine with respect and admiration.
“When I go to shows, people say, ‘You were my mother’s favorite,’” Goldstein said. “I get women my age, who saw it when it came out, and their teenage sons. It’s really amazing.”
May 22, 2009 | 7:52 pm
Posted by Adam Wills
If you’re a Monty Python fan, you know that nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. But if you’re a Jewish “Terminator” fan, you know to expect a Shoah reference at some point – from the nuclear holocaust of Judgment Day (part of Skynet’s Final Solution) to the paraphrasing of a talmudic teaching in the pilot episode of the “Sarah Connor Chronicles” (“And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world”).
The most conspicuous part of “Terminator: Salvation” is the film’s allusion to the Holocaust.
During a critical point in “Salvation,” teen resistance fighter Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) is abducted and dropped into a flying cattle car packed with other people who couldn’t outrun Skynet’s behemoth Harvester robot (think: Tripods collecting people in the 2005 “War of the Worlds”). Inside the shadowy Nazi-like transport, actors dressed for a Jewish ghetto bemoan their fate. It doesn’t take long for Reese to rally his fellow captives, telling them not to give up. “You have to stay alive in your heart and in your mind,” he says.
The coup de grâce for the overwrought Holocaust references comes when the cattle car lands at a Skynet facility, which resembles a train platform outside of a concentration camp. Giant Terminators stand at the ready, like tower-dwelling SS guards, as the prisoners are marched single file toward what they expect is an unnatural end. Naturally, one of the captives makes a break for a wall, only to be gunned down.
This isn’t to say “Salvation” is hackneyed (derivative, maybe). As an addition to the “Terminator” series it falls short of “T2” and the original, but it redeems writers John Brancato and Michael Ferris, who penned “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.”
“Salvation” is set in 2018, 14 years after Skynet becomes self-aware and begins its war on humanity. The film chronicles John Connor’s rise from foot soldier to future leader of the resistance, which is planning an all-out attack on Skynet. But the appearance of Marcus Wright, a stranger from the past whose last memory is of being on death row, adds a wrinkle to that plan. After Wright befriends Reese and watches him get dragged away by Skynet’s forces, it’s up to him to convince an untrusting Connor to work with him to save Reese, the future time-traveler who will eventually father John with Sarah Connor.
“Terminator: Salvation” is, however, two different movies – a popcorn-noshing summer action flick, in which Sam Worthington’s Marcus Wright steals the show, and a character-driven sci-fi drama along the lines of “Battlestar Galactica” that features impressive turns by Christian Bale as John Connor and Bryce Dallas Howard as his pregnant wife Kate. But somewhere between the high-octane chase sequences and Connor brooding over a future that was written for him before he was born, fans will delight in the catchphrases (“Come with me if you want to live,” “I’ll be back”), references to earlier films (Connor hot-wiring a console, just like the ATM in “T2”) and the appearance of a T-800 prototype that’s a dead-ringer for our own Governator.